KUALA LUMPUR: Lina Joy is extremely unhappy with the Federal Court judgment.
“I am disappointed that the Federal Court is not able to vindicate a simple but important fundamental right that exists in all persons; namely, the right to believe in the religion of one's choice and equally important, the right to marry a person of one's choice and to raise a family in the Malaysia context.
“The Federal Court has not only denied me that right but to all Malaysians who value fundamental freedoms,” she told The Star, through her solicitor Benjamin Dawson.
“I am hoping that my case would have made a difference to the development of constitutional issues in the plight of many others.”
Asked whether she would leave Malaysia for good, Lina, who is believed to be overseas at present, said: “It would extremely difficult to exercise freedom of conscience in the present environment.”
Lina, 42, was born Azlina Jailani to Malay parents. She was brought up as a Muslim but at the age of 36 became a Christian.
In 1999, she managed to change the name in her identity card to Lina Joy but the National Registration Department retained her religion in the card as Islam.
On April 23, 2001, the High Court refused to decide on her application to renounce Islam as her religion on grounds that the issue should be decided by the Syariah Court. It also dismissed her application for an order to direct the department to drop the word “Islam” from her identity card.
On Sept 19, 2005, the Court of Appeal, in a majority decision, also rejected her appeal.
Muslim NGOs wait anxiously for the Lina Joy outcome